A 13-year-old boy had to be dragged to shore after accidentally firing a speargun into his leg at Towradgi Beach on Thursday.
Ambulance officers was called to the beach about 11.50am where they found the boy with one of the spear’s barbs embedded in his calf muscle.
The boy had gone spearfishing for the first time with a group of friends when he ran into trouble about 20 metres off-shore while chasing bream.
Friends said their first reaction was to think the boy had been stung by a stingray.
Jai Arthur-Worsop, who was fishing with the boy, said he realised something was wrong when his friend burst out of the water screaming.
‘‘He said ‘the spear’s in my leg’,’’ Jai said.
‘‘We got him into shore - that was a bit of trouble.
‘‘Then we braced the spear, we held it equal with the wound ... whenever he moved it would twist [the spear].’’
Jai said the boy was in shock when they first arrived on shore.
‘‘I’ve never seen him yell like that,’’ he said.
‘‘When we were pulling him in he was out of it.
‘‘You couldn’t talk to him he was in so much shock.’’
Towradgi resident Rob Hummel rushed to assist the boys and helped drag their friend out of the water.
‘‘I was swimming at the pool when I saw the boys go out and I knew they were in trouble when they carried their mate back in 10 minutes later,’’ he said.
‘‘I helped drag him up the beach away from the waves, the spear was three-quarters through his calf but there was no blood.
‘‘I just kept talking to him to keep him calm, he was a brave kid.’’
Mr Hummel said the incident could have been a lot worse.
‘‘The boys wanted to pull it out but I knew to leave it in. If it was embedded in an artery and they pulled it out he would have been in big trouble.
An ambulance spokesman said the boy was taken to Wollongong Hospital in a stable condition.